Travellers must be provided with temporary stopping places, according to Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro.

He is making the call after unauthorised encampments have been set up across the county in recent weeks, which have "caused some disruption and concern to local communities".

Mr Munro said: “I know the police and local councils have been working hard to take the appropriate action where necessary, but the key issue here is the lack of suitable transit sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities to access.

"There are currently no transit sites at all in Surrey and we are increasingly seeing traveller groups setting up unauthorised encampments in the county.

“They are often served with orders by the police or local authority and then move on to another location nearby where the process begins again. This needs to change and I will be redoubling my efforts at both a local and national level to push for the introduction of transit sites in Surrey."

Mr Munro has sent a response to a government consultation on unauthorised encampments to that effect; he is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners lead for equalities, diversity and human rights, which includes GRT communities.

He said: "The provision of these sites, while not a complete solution, would do much to provide that careful balance, which is so important, between lessening the impact on settled communities and meeting the needs of the Traveller communities.

"They will also give the police extra powers to direct those in unauthorised encampments to a designated place.

“What we must not allow is any heightened tensions created by unauthorised encampments to be used as an excuse for intolerance, discrimination or hate crime towards the GRT community."